Olie – flock-a-molie!! What is happening around here? Us city people are going to the birds…… that’s right-Chickens, and it’s all the urban rage!

This starter guide is the most complete information you can find for free on the web ( you don’t have to buy someones book!)

Cities across America that once banned any fowl are now changing their ordinances to allow for chickens.(Check your local laws). People are raising them on rooftops, behind garages, along side buildings and fenced-in backyards. Hundreds of city folk now use their spare bathroom as inexpensive brooders for their baby peeps! Bathtubs everywhere are teeming with soft-fluffy chicks.

Along side our home-grown vegetable gardens, our Bathtub Chickens seem to satisfy something basic inside of us. We feel more connected to nature and the food we eat. We raise chickens that we know are hormone-free/antibiotic-free. The eggs not only taste better but they give us a certain sense of pride as well. It feels wonderful to feed our families with delicious and healthy food – the fruits of our labor. The best part of it all– it’s so easy !!! And here we’ll help you to keep it simple. Raising your Bathtub Chickens can be a fun and rewarding experience.

Getting started: (Couldn’t resist those adorable fuzzy chicks at your local feed store? You and me both! ) Here’s important information you need to know on the basics-

  • housing
  • warmth
  • food and water
  • love

(I keep my chickies indoors until they have feathers, about 5-8 weeks.)

Keep it simple and inexpensive.

Housing-I use my spare bathroom’s Bathtub as a make-shift brooder! (Like most urbanites, you probably don’t have more than six to ten chicks to raise). Bathrooms are usually warmer than any of your other rooms, they have a window for natural light and a door to keep FeeFee and Fido out. Plus, they come with a handy- dandy sink for frequent hand-washing! Bathtub’s are roomy with rounded corners, easy to clean, and because of the high sides tend to lessen drafts on your little chick-a-dees.

Once your babies take up residence in your bathroom- barnyard, that latrine will be the preferred throne for everyone in your household. Who could read a magazine when there are such adorable entertainers vying for your attention? The chicky-children will have to be checked up on frequently anyway, so remind all to close the toilet lid and bathroom door when they are done!

After the tub is clean it should be disinfected. Bleach has caustic strong fumes, I prefer to use my bathroom Lysol cleaner. (If your chicks have coccidiosis and happen to die the next batch of chicks can get it from the germs left behind, so disinfect- who knows what germs are lurking!)

Usually, I have a mountain of old magazines lying around in a pile. They make a perfect litter for the tub. Once the disinfectant has dried, spread newspaper down first (extra over the drain) and cover it with clean shredded paper from your office! Top this with paper towels for the first 3 days. Baby chicks peck at everything. If they ingest something they shouldn’t ingest they could die. After only a few days they will be able to discern what is feed and what is not. Some people prefer using an old sheet for the first few days. I don’t. I like to be able to clean the top layer of paper towels as needed. My chicks have eaten shredded paper a few times without any adverse affects but why chance it. Newspaper alone is too slippery. Chicks legs can splay out and cripple them if they become spraddled. Here’s a link that will show you what it is and how to treat it. http://www.poultryhelp.com/spraddle.html

Some people don’t believe there is a cure for this but I have seen different. ~When there’s great love all things are possible!

Clean their environment out every couple of days, and never allow it to remain damp – cleanliness is VERY important for the health of your baby chicks. They are prone to a number of diseases, most of which can be avoided by maintaining a clean, calm and dry environment. I like the shredded paper for the fact that I can spot clean poopies here and there as needed by just pinching a bit of it out. Make sure you put down a good layer of shreds to accomplish this. Fast, easy, cheap and healthy clean!

Be sure to keep a calm, slow motion when cleaning your babies as chickens are easily frightened. Stress can weaken their immune system and they can get sick easier. Chicks can and have died of a heart attack from fright. Your babies will huddle together in a corner if they get frightened. Sometimes this behavior can be detrimental to one or two chicks when they get caught in a corner and smothered. The rounded corners of a bathtub prevent chicks from causing this huddling death.

Between 3 weeks and 1 month of age, add a roost – which is simply a stick from outside or piece of wood dowelling about 4″ off the bottom. The chicks will feel safer on it and even perch all night there. Put a clean stick from outside(I like to microwave everything for a minute)in the bathtub out of direct light. You don’t want this spot to be too hot.

By this time also you’re chicken-children will be rambunctiously flapping their wings and practicing short and clumsy take-offs. If you have sliding doors on your bathtub, they will come in handy. I have a cloth curtain I use and it works just fine to contain them. Screen windows work also.

As the chicks feathers grow in, the process produces a fine dust that seems to coat everything. The only way to deal with this is to clean, clean, clean. with only a few chickens it’s not that bad, but the more chickens the more dust! Unfortunately, some people have allergies to this bird dander.

Continue to Part 2: Raising Baby Chickens Temperature

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1 Comment on Raising Chickens In The City

  1. Allie says:

    Great info! After reading this, I bought some chicks and used my basement bathtub as their nursery. It was not only cheap, it was easy to clean and worked amazingly well. Thanks!

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